TERRE HAUTE, Ind. — Betty Kennedy’s late husband’s ashes, stolen along with his pickup truck in late April, are back with the Kennedy family.
Terre Haute resident Daniel Kennedy, 75, died April 15, two days after being diagnosed with cancer. Betty, his wife of 48 years, arranged for Daniel to be cremated at Greiner Funeral Home, where services took place April 18.
On April 30, his 2002 Ford F-250 was stolen from the Vigo County Public Library’s parking lot, where the couple's daughter, Lisa Kennedy, had left the truck while attending a class. Some of the ashes, in a black leather box, were inside the pickup.
Lisa notified the Terre Haute Police Department later that day. Betty said that her daughter hid the keys under a mat inside the pickup but did not lock the truck.
“We were going to go distribute the rest of his ashes that day,” Betty Kennedy said in early May, hoping the thief would return them to the funeral home. “We were going to go spread them around Mill Dam.”
A story about the stolen pickup and ashes was published in the (Terre Haute) Tribune-Star on May 4.
Now Daniel Kennedy’s cremains are back home.
On Monday afternoon, the truck — with Daniel Kennedy’s remaining ashes and Lisa Kennedy’s purse still inside — was found parked near the corner of 17th and Warren streets. Missing were the box that had contained the ashes, the truck’s keys and a GPS device that had been purchased for the truck.
Strangely, the ashes had been taken out of the box and placed inside a Ziploc plastic bag, which also contained an envelope with the name “Daniel Kennedy” written on it.
“The police got a call from a neighbor who said the truck had been sitting there for a while,” Betty explained Tuesday. “They went down there and impounded it.”
While happy that she finally got her husband’s ashes back, Betty Kennedy is still confused about how it happened.
“I never have heard from (the police),” she said. “My neighbor heard about it on the scanner, and he told his girlfriend, who called me. So my daughter went down to the police station (late Monday afternoon), and they said she’d have to come back (Tuesday). So we came back and got the police report.”
From there, the Kennedys took the report to AAA Towing at 929 Third Ave. to retrieve their stolen truck and belongings. Betty said she was informed she had to pay a $120 impound fee to get everything returned. She paid the fee in cash, then Lisa drove the truck back to Betty’s house.
The ashes are out of the truck and somewhere safe. The family plans to distribute them at a private location this weekend.
“Now we can have some closure,” Betty Kennedy said. “Now we can do something with the ashes.”
Late Tuesday, an anonymous donor offered to reimburse Betty for the $120 impound fee.